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electronics project

Magnets and Circuits Blocks Combine To Form…

Circuit blocks are a very popular part of MAKESHOP. But there has been a single pressing problem within our design that has plagued teaching artists for the past several years. We use alligator clips to connect our blocks together and the problem with these is that our younger visitors have trouble manipulating these clips. It is quite the strain on their fine motor skill capabilities to open and close the clips.  Th
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Chain Reactions: Prompting the Unexpected

We have been exploring chain reactions at the Museum for years.  Building tracks and paths for balls to roll on is a fun activity that teaches persistence, prototyping and teamwork.  Recently I taught two separate classes centered around chain reactions.  One was with a group of second graders from the Ellis School.  Their science teacher wanted to expand upon her students’ learning with a trip to MAKESHOP. The
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A Case of the PTA

[Ed note: This is Kevin’s experience on the  Avonworth PTA visit, which Scott Miller recently wrote a guest post about!] Usually when we teach workshops in MAKESHOP they are for students or groups of teachers. For this particular workshop I got the chance to teach a slightly different audience. Members of the Avonworth School District PTA wanted to have a “making” experience in MAKESHOP. We let them
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Soft Circuit Blocks

A few months ago I was introduced by my colleagues in MAKESHOP to the idea of using conductive thread to sew a circuit.  The concept is simple; instead of using electrical wires to connect your components and power sources you use a conductive type of thread.  This allows you to attach your electrical components to fabric.  This is a new way of exploring and understanding circuitry.  A sewn or soft circuit may, in so
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Failblog: UFO

People seem to love laughing at failure to the point that when something is attempted and hilariously or painfully or bothly does not happen, we call it a FAIL or MAJOR FAIL or EPICFAIL! Why do we do this? Are we embarrassed for the person who tries? Are we scared at how failure can hurt, and laugh as protection? I don’t know, but I think it keeps up from seeing how failure does not have to be the end result or
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Skill Thrill: Multiple LEDs

I know, I know.  If there was a making version of Portlandia (MAKElandia?) it would include a skit called ‘Put an LED on it!’ because what better way make it jazzy than to make it light up?  I get the allure – building a circuit that works is fun and satisfying, and there is a certain swagger that comes with the control of turning components on and off at your whim.  So putting LEDs on projects is a
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